Chef Mental Rollercoaster

Swedish ChefIt doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I used to be Chef Mental Rollercoaster.  I left the boozy world of restaurants years ago, but I spent 10 years training, cooking, scrubbing pots, owning, going bankrupt, catering and working ridiculously long hours.

The way my culinary career ended left a dark shadow on my memory of the years in the biz, but when I carefully remember some of the highlights, I have to admit that I had some fun.  I was featured in the newspaper as the youngest owner in the city, I did a few segments on a local morning news show, and a restaurant I worked in received a rave review stemming from a night I lead.

Those were a few of the hits, but the ongoing enjoyment came from designing seasonal and special event menus.  Researching trends, playing with new ingredients, and developing dishes was part of the day-to-day fun.  I haven’t owned a restaurant in 7 years, but I’m still evolving the menu that lives in the back of my mind.

Despite the fond memories and the ongoing mental menu moulding, I will likely never return to that world.  It’s a chapter in my life story that has a very clean ending that doesn’t lend itself to a sequel.

My exit followed a fight with my boss accusing me of being on drugs.  I wasn’t, but I was incredibly hungover and was not functioning well.  The argument ended with him calling my husband telling him that if I tried to drive home, he’d call the police.  Ugh, I’m embarrassed all over again at the memory.  I quit that day and never returned.  Had I been honest and just said that I was hungover, the situation probably wouldn’t have escalated the way it did.  I didn’t though, I just kept telling him I wasn’t on anything.  Of course he didn’t believe me and I later heard that he not-so-casually spread a rumour that I was using crack.  No joke.  He described our argument to a doctor friend of his who told him that the “only possible explanation” was that I was on crack.  Obviously this is a doctor with impeccable intuition and ethics.

It was a very unfortunate way to end a short career that I truly loved while I lived it, despite the constant rollercoaster of highs and lows that is inherent to the restaurant biz.  That said, I needed to get out of that environment to have any chance at sobriety.  In the end, it’s probably how that story needed to end: quick and clean.

Daily Prompt: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma

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17 thoughts on “Chef Mental Rollercoaster

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  3. I am a chef – about 20 years doing this now and I know the debauchery that it can entail, if one is apt to get involved…lol. I certainly have seen my share of follies, and have been involved in a lot of alcohol-related hijinks and tomfoolery. None of it good, to be honest. I wish I could take back a lot of my behaviour, but alcoholism is an ugly and yet skillful provocateur. I love the industry, and while I can say that my passion has been parked a bit in the last few years, I still love mentoring and teaching. I taught at the big culinary school here in the city, and left partly because of my illness. I have made amends there and have a good rapport with them. I might go back one day. But the industry itself is wonderful, but hard. Very hard. Hard on the body, hard on the family, hard on the ego. But it has amazing things about it too, doesn’t it?

    Anyway, just wanted to drop a line and say hi and that I too am one of us in other ways…lol.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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  5. I have all these ups and downs to come! I only graduated from culinary school last week and have only been for chefing for a year and a half! Sounds like you started and made it to the very top, you definitely done yourself proud however it ended!

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